This comes from executive Takahashi Iiuzuka, who talked about the longevity of the open-zone design in an interview with GamesBeat yesterday (June 17). You can also find out exactly what open-zone means here.
“We really wanted to think about where we need to take Sonic for the next ten years,” explained Iiuzuka. “What kind of gameplay do we need to start building out to keep people excited for the future?
“Sonic Frontiers is that next step for the next ten years. We hope that fans believe in us and that they enjoy what we’re showing them. We’re looking forward to when they get to play it and really understand what it’s about.”
These statements from Iiuzuka aren’t the first time that Sega and Sonic Team has hedged their bets on Sonic Frontiers as being the future of the franchise, despite the somewhat mixed reception to the early-game footage released throughout this month. Fans were so concerned in fact that some started up a #DelaySonicFrontiers campaign.
Director Morio Kishimoto has described Sonic Frontier’s open-zone mechanics as such as well: “Level-based platformers often have a world map. Our Open Zone is a world map, only we’ve made it entirely playable.
“A playable world map that includes stage-like elements is something that hasn’t really been done before, so we had to come up with a new name,” added Kishimoto.